Review of DOD Investigation of Leak of Classified Information to The Washington Post

GGD-83-15: Published: Oct 7, 1982. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) investigation of disclosure of classified information to a newspaper. Specifically, GAO was asked to: (1) give an opinion on DOD compliance with its directives on the use of the polygraph; (2) provide assurance that the ability of the investigators to act in an impartial, professional manner was not compromised by the level at which the investigation began; (3) analyze the efficacy of the investigation in removing security risks from positions of trust; and (4) ascertain whether DOD followed procedures and conducted an investigation to effectively search out wrongdoers and protect the rights of DOD employees.

GAO found that: (1) there was no basis for concluding that DOD conducted the subject investigation in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of its directive on the use of the polygraph; (2) there was no reason to believe that the investigation was conducted in other than an impartial and professional manner; and (3) the investigation did not result in the removal of any individuals from positions held at the time of the leak; however, one employee was officially reprimanded for disregarding DOD regulations. Finally, GAO concluded that the investigation was conducted in an effective manner and that there was no indication of noncompliance with procedural safeguards prescribed by DOD directives.

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